To make it more friendly for novices- four strategies I learned from a CS tutoring video

  • CS education related
  • Four strategies I learned from a tutoring video about linked list, that I feel will make it more accessible and novice- friendly
  1. Start with intuitive variable name (e.g. box), and replace them gradually with more commonly use terms (e.g. Node).

When viewing a about linked list (a data structure), the anchor started off calling the Node box, and then after a while (1-2 min) when people are perfectly familiar with the intuitive term of “box”, he replaced it with “Node” . A lot of tutoring materials in CS does this, I find this very helpful and make the knowledge more accessible for people unfamiliar the specific grammar of the programming language, constructors terminology etc.

Presented a bit similar to the way of “faded scaffolding”, but this I think this – start out with a variable name that are intuitive and gradually replace it with more commonly used term – could be especially in CS because the term can be especially intimidating and confusing.

2. Repeat the awkward, manual, repetitive codes, before introducing a more elegant method

Another way is to start with the awkward, manual way, e.g. in this example, he created the nodes in the linked list manually. Then, he said there is a less awkward way, of using a constructor/ class. This also makes it more novice-friendly. Because when you do it the manual way, though awkward and repetitive, sometime it is exactly what the novice need to understand what you are trying to do, what is your purpose, because the repetition gives them time to think.

3. After writing the code, use the example to explain how the code work on that example.

This is straightforward.

4. When explaining a concept, try to use one example consistently from the beginning to the end.

The teacher only used one linked list of 6,3,4,2,1 as exapmle. This reduce the cognitive load for students to keep track of multiple examples.

This teacher is a really good teacher, I subscribed his youtube channel (CS Dojo).